A continual dismal rain fell onto the array of black umbrellas. Father Phillips looked up at the dark clouds. They were there to stay for the rest of the day.
He held his bible away from the rain and read the service. He watched as the coffin of Dianne Clarke was lowered into her grave. She was an old lady who’d sank into a deep depression following a brutal mugging. Her family told him that since that day she withdrew from life and never recovered.
He looked around at the mourners with their heads cast down at the descending coffin. Another life ruined by crime. He was growing tired of not being able to answer the same question asked by innocent victims or by bereaved parents of young children. He prayed for guidance, but it never seemed to be forthcoming. This only made the sense of inadequacy he was feeling grow stronger. However hard he tried to make it more acceptable and comforting he still couldn’t explain why God allowed suffering. He tired of giving many variants of the same answer. The usual “The Lord works in mysterious ways”, offered no real explanation in this modern world and sounded more like a salesman avoiding an awkward question about his product because it threatened a potential sale.
A shiver down his spine and a sudden sense of unease broke his thoughts. He looked around at the mourners. Their heads were still down but behind them in the distance was a man standing in the rain staring directly at him.
The sound of crying broke Father Phillip’s stare. He continued the service.
“…per misericórdiam Dei requiéscant in pace. Amen.”
He closed his book and looked back over the mourners at the road. The man had gone.